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Kevin Mattson Education. (2009) Kevin Mattson ('What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?').

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Jimmy Carter 48, Ronald Reagan 16, Jerry Falwell 12, Us 11, Harry Truman 9, Carter 5, Washington 4, Levittown 4, Bob Dylan 4, Los Angeles 3, New York City 3, Falwell 3, Walter Mondale 2, Pat Conroy 2, New Jersey 2, Jody Powell 2, Paris 2, Johnny Depp 2, Mike Farrell 2, John Wayne 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Kevin Mattson  Education.  (2009) Kevin Mattson  
   ('What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President?').  

    August 23, 2009
    8:00 - 9:00am EDT  

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book so what i'm going to do is kind of give a fairly informal talk about the main themes of the book. and then i'll read parts of it out to try to emphasize those areas that i think may be of most interest to you. the term "malaise" is probably the term that most of us associate with jimmy carter's presidency in the long term. it's the term that he's known supposedly to have invented and that has defined his presidency. and one of the best ways to understand the long-term impact of this term defining his presidency, of course, is pop culture. and i'm going to talk a little bit about what's known as episode 80 of the simpsons which focuses one of its themes on the citizens of springfield wanting to have a statue of a famous president but, of course, they don't a lot of money so they can't get lincoln or washington. the only thing they can settle on is jimmy carter. ..
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>> colossal air on jimmy carter's part in the 80 sensually assured him to be defeated in 1980. i'm going to read a quote from a historian who gives the kind of typical take. this was written just a little while ago.
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here is a typical take on the speech. by sermonizing, carter appear to be advocating his role as leader and blamed the people themselves for their own afflictions. that is, that jimmy carter was taking the blame off of his own presidency and putting it on the shoulders of citizens. this is the standard take of the speech and a dodging speech and was essentially jimmy carter admitting he was weak and ineffective president. if you read the speech itself, which many people don't talk about it, you'll find that there is a lot in it where you can say this sounds like a president who is castigating the american people. i will read you a few highlights of the speech is on july 15. he is supposed to document the energy crisis in mideast stores document things like this. we worship self-indulgence and consumption, and we were mired in fragmentation and self-interest that this is not a
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message of happiness or reassurance but it is the truth and it is a warning. i realized that now more than ever as president i need your help. you can say two things about that. it sounds like you saying that the american people are in fact by selfishness and consumption. with the second part is that jimmy carter is also admitted to his own weaknesses, his own frailties and is not blaming the american people. wholeheartedly as it is often understood. the real interesting thing about this speech is this. as much as it sounds like he is lashing out against the american people, condemning them for consumerism and materialism, he gets a bump in his polls, any of the following the speech of 11%. for him this was rare. this never happened. this was really shocking. not only does he get a bogus polls he gets tons of mail sent to the white house almost all of it favorable. the white house switchboard lights up immediately after he is done with the speech of almost all the calls are
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positive. people calling in sick i will ride a moped were, i will cut down my energy consumption, i will do whatever necessary. so there seems to be a counterintuitive thing going on that jimmy carter goes out, condemns the big people injured the mayor to people seem to love it. if you want to just put it that boldly. that is in some ways the conundrum that i wanted to kind of explore more in this book. and i think it's time that we revisit carter and carter's speech and especially with the computer context of our own energy crisis. the general problem of revisiting this speech of revisiting jimmy carter is also the problem of revisiting the 1970s. as a decade goes, i'm sure most of you feel this way, the 1970s are known to kind of suck. they are a bad time. this is the time of decline, decadence, the time of superficial disco. so forth and so on. is a real risk of untrimmed reason to say this was a crummy decade. and in conservative scholars argue that there is a narrative that goes along with a crummy decade which is that in the
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1970s america fell away from its greatness. 1980, along comes a man on a great whitehorse, ronald reagan pulls it out and returned to greatness. that's a fairly standard take that a lot of conservative scholars used to explain the time and took the decade. my book tries to compensate both our understanding of carter and of the '70s by looking at the '70s on just as a time of decadence and disco which a definite, but also as a time of intersection. i think it was a lot of kind of soul-searching going on in the '70s. it was a time when people felt comfortable being tough on america, the films of apocalypse now, during this time, manhattan is a famous movie that jimmy carter himself jos twice at the white house during this period of time that i'm studying. and there's a real sense of humility that america has gone through a hard time through vietnam, watergate. and perhaps return to something that can never return to the kind of innocence that might
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once have had. i think there is a moral seriousness to the '70s that i think it's important for us to explore more today. so i think it's time to reevaluate the decade, and i think it is time to reevaluate carter. and the best way i thought to do this was to take this speech that he was a well known for and that defined his presidency and try to explore again and be more critical and reflective about it. the easiest way to think about this speech is as a critique of consumerism and abundance, getting in the way of americans understanding the real problem of the energy crisis. there's an argument that we've become so reliant upon fossil fuels and to rely upon them and that we really need to confront this issue, but until we understand our civic rights we will be able to confront the energy crisis. there's also the thing we need to call upon citizens to embark upon a project of sacrifice to understand the limits that are placed upon the americans at this point in time in history
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and only doing that would get off our reliance upon foreign oil. now, here's the way i tell the story. whenever you commit to writing a book like this, your fear is that you may have opened yourself up to doing a lot of research into things that are not very interesting. i found this to be the exact opposite. this period of time that i focus on, which is really april of 1979 to july 1979 and carrying through to the election of 1980. this is a crazy period of time. it's a wild period of time. and there is three ways that you can understand especially the spring and summer of 1979 as a wild time. gas lines, and i'll talk a little bit about gas lines and what they're like. number two is the truckers strike which was so important in defining the feeling of the period. and number three is a good old fashioned riot. and you have all of these three things happening during the course of time from april to july of 1979. let me start with the gaslight.
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they started in los angeles in spring and they moved east during the spring and summer of 79. is due to a limited supplies, iran got off its oil supply due to being in the wake of the iranian revolution. it also has something to do with the rationing system that i won't go into detail about here. but let me just give you a sense of what gas lines were like and what the spring and summer of 1979 were like. is a description of what gas lines were like. especially at least as they come from los angeles. ensuring that your car had sufficient gas, search for an open gas station, 95% of the stations in new york city were closed. waiting in long lines for up to six hours. they ran for miles in new jersey. get to the pub and then find out that there is no gas left. and attendant might say that a truck was on his way with resupplied topic a for the. those who saw the sign last car on the car that was last in line
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would go into a panic. sometimes they would steal it and put it in own cars and hope to get gas. they would idle their engines in long lines. one estimate suggested that america's motorists in the spring and summer of 79 may have wasted 150 barrels of oil a day waiting in line. and then others ran out of gas before getting into line coasting or pushing to the pumps. and that included actually jimmy carter's press secretary, jody powell found himself coasting into a gaslight. and i remember that well when i interviewed him. the gaslight are also violent. a pregnant woman is attacked in a los angeles gaslight. people are murdered in gas lines. sometimes people would take their gas tank locks and put some cuts in front of them to try to get ahead they will rush to the car, opened a gas can come up with their lock on, locked the gas tank and driveways of person can get gas into their own car. these places are crazy. gas lines are crazy and chaotic.
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in addition to those you have a truckers strike. these are independent truckers, not unionized truckers but independent truckers who are upset with a limited supply of diesel fuel and rising cost of diesel fuel. the strike also turned violent. let me just give you a kind of brief glimpse of what the trucker strike turned out to be. druker started to take the rivals out of their sleeping apartments as a vigilante violence took hold. on june 18, a man was shot and would've been crossville tennessee for refusing to join the strike. a few days later florida and wisconsin governors declared states of emergency because when a truck had been shot out, the windshield smashed and tires flattened. on june 19 the minnesota governor declared a state of emergency in face of the violent 13 day strike to shut down all gasoline and terminals in minnesota the blockade became more popular. the white house asked the fbi to quell violence but this couldn't stop the shootings are truckers who bucked the strike on their tires shot out.
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one driver who passed striking truckers was worn over his cb radio that he was losing his right we'll. a stopped to get out and check and was probably shot. this is the kind of violence that is taking hold over the country during this period of time on the gaslight and in the truckers strike. these two forces then come together in june of 1979 in a good old fashioned riot. ironically enough, in levittown, pennsylvania the irony of that is of course we think of levittown as that tranquil, suburban community built in the 1950s to keep the problem of urban violence away from this community, and this community just turns crazy in june of 79. there's protest about the gas lines, and then there's also truckers who drive into levittown and then also to engage in protest. and then this is what happened. this is kind of the culmination of the chaos that is taking
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hold. the whole thing started with a man named beau weaver. at this job he had to be tdm intra- new jersey, a station that broadcast to numerous bucks county residents are angry at the gas prices he rushed inside his to-do in the morning. he took a sledgehammer and rusty nails and barricaded the door. did he started playing the song cheaper crude or no more food over and over and over, for three hours straight. station owners pounded on the door. and ordered him a pizza that the delivery boy shoved under the door. truckers called in their thanks. radio host paul harvey had actually popularized the song cheaper crude or no more food earlier. and was sung by bobby butler. headlines like this. forget the golden rule, stop shipping food to the mideast until they ship us cheaper crude. actually just kind of a call for trade wars innocent. but some to country music. the song and defined fueled their anger but it took beautiful weather to get people
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out in the streets and ready to write. and that's what happened onto 23rd. bike 6:31 truck drove straight into the center section which is a central location of the police moved in and ordered the trucker today. he refused and the place had to pull him from his truck at a policeman drove the truck out of the intersection as crowds jeered. some started to talk beer cans at the place. crowd surged into the intersection and the police moved into dragon a. the next day something even worse happened at ports of stoned took over i pointed they pushed mattresses and sofas into the intersection and let them on fire. tires and gas stations were thrown in. flame shooting 30 feet up in the air. kids danced. truckers egg them on as they crashed to a police barricade and an unidentified tow truck drove a car in. along with rocks bestmatch for the winners are gas stations and post office or they descend on a texaco station and pushed a parked van into the intersection and torched it.
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basil oil from the gas stations and sprayed everywhere. the air filled with bill of snow, one family came home from a fishing trip during the spring of time. the father gets out of his car to find out what's going on. the police tell him to get back in and then they proceed to smashes window. the 19 year-old geishas 19 euros and jumps out and gets hit in head. the mother tries about her son over to find herself in the chokehold. in whole, there were 117 arrest and many more injuries that evening. levittown was a place of orderly suburbia look like in one word out in the words of one journalist a battle zone. this is the chaos of this period of time. fairly significant level of chaos chaos that you served in seeking of that happening when we had our most recent spate of gas prices going up. in what is interesting to know is that the chaos going on in the country is also the chaos that's going on within the white house. people are pulling on carter in different corrections and trying to get him to move in one direction or the other. and fortunate for someone writing a history book, the cast
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of characters is fantastic. it's a really interesting cast of characters. there is hambleton sheraton, who eventually become the president's chief of staff after this, a very colorful and controversial figure. there is gery rationed, the famous public relations manager who was known for the term of rationally. jody powell, carter's recounted press secretary to extort eisenstadt, the domestic policy via. walter mondale, obviously the vice president who also proceed to have a nervous breakdown during the period of time that we are discussing. and also probably perhaps well-known, if you know to say, jimmy carter's pollster pat caddell cabell caddell, who is the mastermind behind pushing harder to make the speech as he does. there are numerous fights within the white house over what carter should do to respond to the crisis. and the fights are acrimonious. they are brutal, and in one case there is a fight breaks out it goes on for 10 hours. this is the period of time in which walter mondale simply melts down and has to leave the
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room because he is so completely freak out at what is going on within the administration. there's people screaming at one another. that is expletives used. it's a very conflictual time. i'm not going to give the story only about all the ins and outs of the brutal fights, but there are a number of these that are very crucial to defining how carter is trying to struggle with what it is that he should do as he goes forward and faces the chaos of the country is descended into the so part of the story is just kind of a story of wild excitement. and to a certain extent it is a fun show to do because there is so much fun and also very strange things going on. the more serious side is that this is one of those times in american history when i did actually to infiltrate the white house, which i think is a rarity in many ways. 1970s are a time of big ideas. we know the decade by the term the knee decade that we know the
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truth the culture of narcissism plighted by destroying christopher lashed. and patrick caddell is reading all of these books. and reporting upon him to the president. and actually getting the president to read these books, including the culture of narcissism, the cultural contradictions of capitalism. some rather difficult text to reach. would also know is jimmy carter was a speed reader and you probably didn't understand some of the things he was reading, or he certainly didn't read them close enough to understand the complexities of the rj. nonetheless, these guys are debating questions of civilizational decadence, decline, what's the issue of divorce, what's the culture of disco means for america's value system. they're talking about it not. they're talking about what it. they're talking about themes of national humility and how do you bounce back after a crisis. there's a lot significant discussions going on in the white house. some of them are actually surprisingly deep. so part of the story is the chaos, both outside of the white house and within the white
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house. and people vying for tried to influence the president. and there is also the story of ideas. that's going on to inform the speech. the final story is to look less at the people who eventually will lose, which are obviously jimmy carter as it comes to be in 1980. it's also part of the sort wanted to do was to sort of the victors, and the victors are obviously ronald reagan and the rise of the new right, which corresponds with the third time that i'm dealing with, 1979 almost perfectly. one of the figures that i pay a lot of attention to in the book is jerry falwell because he was really on a rise in terms of his popularity during this period of time. and also his friend jesse helms who was working with them closely. jerry falwell was mostly known for his television show, the old time gospel hour. and this is the height of televangelism. but jerry falwell also designed
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to impart my during this same period of time this spring and summer of 1979 on a series of events that he called i love america rallies. and for the first time he had been holding these rows all throughout the country, but during the springtime he brings the i love america rally in washington, d.c., right to the steps of the capital. and just give you a description of an i love america rally, and i do this for two reasons. did you get a sense of what they were like, but also to emphasize that jerry falwell's view of religion and christianity are in some ways incomplete and absolute loggerheads to jimmy carter's. they had very, very different views of christianity and the meaning of christiana. i love this has to do with i think if someone is not necessarily theological debates but some fairly difficult arguments about the means of christianity. here is the i love america rally that jerry falwell holds on the steps of the capitol. similar events had occurred at numerous state capitals, but never one at the nation's
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capital. the choreography was straightforward. the american flags were placed in rows and the i love america singers, most of them college kids, gathered around that doubt in red, white and blue costumes. the men wore identical dies. the women white dresses. they started placing faith of our fathers. we will strive to win all the nations unto thee, and so the truth that comes from god, we shall then be truly free. they followed that song with america the beautiful. and then jerry falwell would step out in front of the i love america singers, in front of the huge set of american flags, and he would give is what i call kind of his stump jeremiah. in 1776, falwell explained 56 men called the declaration of independence, they pledge their fortunes, their lives and sacred honor to indictment. aforetime specifically refers to the dependence of the station upon god. people would scream out at the ball was. i love america. usually this was all
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choreographed, of course. falwell then followed the christian nations followed him as having everything from the ban on prayer in public schools that his close friend jesse helms to television shows like charlie's angels which seems to be an obsession of jerry falwell's. what some called the kids and has formed a. falwell built up scenes and then lashed out at materialism and pry. sound a lot like harder in some ways. at home and then godless congas abroad and then he goes with a passage from chronicles. if my people which are called my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, they will i hear from heaven and i will forgive their sin and heal their land. and there it was. the assurance of salvation as long as the laws are a form, new legislation was one and the sinful ways corrected. this is a big difference between jerry falwell and jimmy carter. jimmy carter just never believed that if you necessarily change the laws, that you would
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necessarily have the result of a regained country. in fact, jimmy carter felt very awkward about making the argument that america was somehow the chosen people of god. jerry falwell was very, very pointed to do the. jerry follow clearly completed the american nation with christianity. jimmy carter was always very, very hesitant as much as he was a moralizer, he was very, very hesitant to align god's purpose in the world with america's purpose. and out of the i love america rallies, no surprise during the springtime, again, we get the formation of moral majority. and we get the rise of what is known as the new right during this period. and many of the members of the new right also work very sure that jimmy carter was actually quite vulnerable on a bunch of cultural issues which in some ways didn't prove to be as right as they wanted it to that they had a point. none of this would matter. jerry falwell was opposition. the rise of the new record of this would matter less with a candidate there be to articulate
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the concerns and also when office. and of course we have that as well. and that is ronald reagan. during the third time that i am dealing with, ronald reagan will start to take the lead in the republican party primary. he will start to kind of pull ahead, pull ahead of a number of contenders. most famously essentially chasing to decide john connally and philip crane. it's also during this time that he starts to perfect his own kind of right wing populism, as we have come to know today. he gives a famous speech in which he says the republican party is not the party of the country clubs, the republican party is the party of mainstream, the small guy at the guy, kind of almost the fdr's forgotten antigone also pioneered his attack on government arguing that if we simply deregulate oil production there would be an abundance of oil in the united states in an abundance of cheap oil there is a lot of different issues going
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on for ronald reagan to define himself. there is strategic arms limit talks, there's questions of the panama canal treaty. but it is very clear that one of the things that ronald reagan does is that he decides to define his candidacy with the term malaise. very, very clearly, november 1979, so too does ted kennedy, but in the end ted kennedy doesn't really matter. ronald reagan does. here is ronald reagan announcing his candidacy in november of 1979. this is where you are starting to your jimmy carter's speech being used against him, taking the term malaise which was never used in the speech and trying to then use it as a way to kind of attack ronald reagan -- jimmy carter. for the first time in our memory, many americans are asking does history still have a place for america for her people, and for her great ideals? this is reagan announcing his
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candidacy. there are some who answer no year that her energy is spent, her days of great is at an end, that a great national malaise is upon us. as i point out, those people who said no to dreaming, and dreaming becomes a theme that runs throughout ronald reagan throughout ronald reagan speeches from 79 up through a. those people who said no, reagan put up, told our children not to dream as we once dreamed. but i find no national malaise, he insisted. i find nothing wrong with the american people. jimmy carter carley found something wrong with the american people. and he clearly found that there was something wrong with himself. there was that kind of humility that carter held out both for citizens and for himself. ronald reagan had none of it. ronald reagan had no sense of the legs and no sense that there could be anything wrong with the american people. and of course it's about optimism combined with reagan's right wing populism that will lead him to win the 1980
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election and to take at a sitting president, which is a fairly awesome act as people although. so the speech in a way becomes not just a speech about the energy crisis, the moral and civil crisis that plagues america at the time. and becomes a story of a turning point in our history. it's a turning point away from carter's evangelical humility towards a jerry falwell's redemptive and triumphal nationalism, in many ways. it's a turn away from carter's critique of consumerism and materialism, and it is a turn to ronald reagan's celebration of the free market, including free market consumerism. and i think that is precisely this idea that the speech serves as a turning point where i think history can help us to go back and asking many ways the question was at the right turning point, where the country should have gone. i've been assess du think jimmy carter speech if read today
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would be received positively? and my sense of it is that actually it can be received positively. i have seen it as i taught it to undergraduates in american history that they actually react to it quite favorably. to actually find it to be very interesting as one student pointed to me that this guy seems to be talking honestly about america's problems and isn't tried to necessarily cover things up it and that is part of the story i want to tell in the. there is also before i close us out, and opened it up to questions, there's also i should just point out a lot of other interesting characters and events that i think i could have dealt with. bob dylan is in there for anybody who likes bob dylan. bob dylan has a really kind of freakish evangelical period as some know. it happens during this period i. about, i think bob dylan is kind of a pop-culture of jerry falwell during 1979. there is woody allen, who runs in and out of the narrative. john wayne dies and ronald reagan, jimmy carter tried to say that john wayne was their
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favorite hero. and ronald reagan is right and jimmy carter was on the. there is what is known as the disco demolition rally in chicago were tons of stoned kids run onto the baseball field in the middle of the doubleheader and just are tearing up the turf and lighting the place of fire and blowing up disco records. this is just fantastic stuff. bill clinton makes an appearance at jimmy carter's famous domestic summit and gives advice to the president. the new wave band blondie turns disco during this period of time. investable, and i won't talk about this specifics on this. there is what's known as the killer rabbit incident which is just one of the best incidents in american history and actually correlates with the bird of time i am getting with your. so my attention is to tell a story that i think it has -- has an entertaining aspect to it, but i also hope has kind of a series hellemond to it as well. that is that i think again, it gave this speech is part of a turning point, i think it is time to re-examine that turning
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point and ask some serious questions about a. i will reduce him closing part of the book and then i will be happy to open up to any questions, if there are any. this is how i end and i don't think this gives away anything. that is in the book. we are still a nation dependent on foreign sources of oil, and lacking a national energy policy that searches for alternatives. we may be getting there right now. so carter's suggestion that america had to generate a sense of national purpose and a common good to fight the energy crisis doesn't sound all that distant to us today. we are still a nation infatuated with private self-interest whose ascetical to sing sport apart, a nation that it still bowls alone, as one political scientist recently described it. we are still a culture that prizes consumerism and materialism, whose pop-culture seems vapid and distracting at best. foreign war still warned us against the americas greatness and simple as it turns as if it can be easily projected throughout the world without
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electrical indian and his books and with a question about 97 as a turning point. are we so certain that the turn taken was the right one? to remember jimmy carter's speech today allows us to ask that question with the sort of moral import it deserves. and that's the end. so i am happy to answer any questions people have. [applause] >> if you have a question, and should a microphone to use if people do have questions? okay. so is there anyone who wants to ask a question about the book, or about anything, about anything i said? or is it all crystal-clear? >> i am looking forward to reading the book. i just wondered about the events of the summer of 1979 about the speech, what starts out as something like a domestic summit but takes an odd turn with so
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many cabinet members are fired in such a dramatic way. and then within a matter of weeks you have the iranian hostages taken. how does this all given image of jimmy carter as a weak leader that becomes very difficult to shape? >> that's a good question and i didn't mention the cabinet firings because i was just going to try to focus on the speech, but that gives an important component of the story, kind of a way. but it's an important part. he gives a speech on july 15. he follows it up with some other local speeches on the same thing and he outlined more what he wants to do on energy policy. he is also being told as this is going on by hamilton gerald and that he needs to basically fire his entire cabinet. jimmy carter decides to follow his buddies and it is the biggest mistake probably that he
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ever made. he remembers it that way and in his memoirs he said i handled the cabin of firings in a horrible way. i didn't do myself any good. and he is essentially admitted to the fact that he is made an enormous mistake. the way i portrayed in the book is a jimmy carter opens up this little opportunity for my today's. that's what apple lovers go. that's when the mail is coming in. that is when everything is looking really, really good. and he is almost as one set of up server point that he is kind of like sisyphus. he rolls the rock uphill and then it kind of comes down and probably goes even further down. so he really, by that point in time, i think once he fires the cabinet and does it sloppily, that's the moment at which i think in many ways he could not bounce back from. of course, we have the hostage crisis, which ironically enough for those who know, during the hostage crisis and jimmy carter actually gained in popularity because the american people felt it was unfair to criticize the sitting president when you have a crisis like this at hand.
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of course, as it takes forever for anything to happen and of course nothing ever happens under his presidency, that also kills them towards the end. but i would say that when he has made the speech, when he has fired the cabinet, there is very clearly on the part of ronald reagan's handlers a sense that this is their moment. ronald reagan's pollster says i know the moment when we could win this thing and it came on july 15, 1979. because we could frame this thing as an anti-malaise candidates. and we could go out there and we could basically pummel jimmy carter. we could make him look weak. that is where the killer rabbit stuff comes at that moment. and we can win this election. so i really think this is the moment in which, although there is still some time to go before we act to get to the defeat, and that includes the hostage crisis, this is the moment i think it becomes very, very difficult for jimmy carter to bounce back from. i think he had a moment, and if he had fired the cabin, this of
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course is counterfactual and we don't know, if he had fired the cabinet, who knows? i surely don't think it would have been as bad for him as it became what he fired the cabinet. >> you had the opportunity to write this history. you have the opportunity to write this when so many members are alive. i wonder how they reacted to your lines, how they are feeling about all of this? >> the speechwriters were the ones who were most enthusiastic because they felt like in some ways the hard work that they taken part in, but you know, it was being taken seriously. and they felt kind of relates. almost all of his dish there was a conflict going on within the administers. that conflict was it should jimmy carter give the speech or should simply solved the energy crisis through a set of policy. those people who opposed him making the speech, indie and said it was the right thing to
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do. they finally said yes, it was a good speech. it was on the money. he did the right thing. i am glad he did it. so it seems to me like most people identify it now as a great step that he took. and they love them i think, you know, a number of people who read the speech just in passing say it seems about time that we maybe could go back to it and not let at the speech was the sort of negative lens that i think most historians do. and we can kind of see it on its own terms and also see some of its more positive aspect. i think they were induced that someone seemed to be willing to spend some time to write an entire book about the thing. [inaudible]
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>> were working on solar energy and so forth are things were going bad in the economy. as far as what he said, that's what europeans are saying about us now. also, pop culture, music never dies. it is still alive there. but my question is, you and other historians use the present tense of, jimmy carter opens his speech with -- gives his speech. present tense. instead of past tense. so how are you changing language when you use the present tense on something that is related to the past? >> actually, it started to sound like you actually read the comments that i make on
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undergraduate papers about how you have to stay in the past and when you do history and you shouldn't flip it in the present. [inaudible] >> i'm not surprised by that. it's my own slippage. i think that the interesting point about all of this is that it's, of course, difficult to deal as if this is completely the past. and i mean it seriously in the sense that as i wrote this book it was looking at -- obviously we don't have trucker strikes and violence on the gas lines and things like that. but we do seem to still have a lot of the same problems in terms of an energy crisis, and popular culture that seems to be very vapid and so forth and so on. i think probably my slippage is sort of my own intention with whether or not i feel entirely countable saying this is all about the past or whether or not this is also somewhat about the present.
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[inaudible] >> i should've said he gave the speech. >> very often you and other historians use the present. he walks here. as if you are right there with them. >> you know, in some ways to a certain extent that's the attempt to make history feel like it's alive, you know, and you do find yourself kind of slipping into the present tense, large i think because you do feel like you're kind of describing something that you can imagine at the moment and at the time. so i guess i'm going to have to watch myself at this point in time. i think it is that sort of feeling that you are not quite talking about something that is in the pastor william fulcher had that famous quote at the pass is in today. it isn't even past the.
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i think that's the feeling that often have which is that we always lived with a lot of kind of recurring themes that you can see playing themselves out throughout history. that's a good question. yap? >> this is a different kind of question, which has to do with leadership, the personality, qualities. and i am thinking of a different foreign untrimmed former president, harry truman and give him a -- give them hell. if we can compare the themes and the outlook and the outlook of the two men, one from the south, and harry truman was a christian but he was a private christian. so i would like to hear your reaction to my question about those role of leadership and the personality of a president in being a successful leader. >> that is a great question.
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actually, it's a good question in large part because jimmy carter consistently said that harry truman was one of his favorite president, if if not his favorite president. and i think that there are -- there is a similarity in style, in terms of kind of a sort of commonsensical sort of approach. there is also a similarity in this way, which is that the give them hell speeches that he is doing, the train rides that he is getting, those were purely in the setting of an election. harry truman when he actually govern was pretty in some ways fairly centrist, pretty compromising, not really as tough and i think as the person that he projected on the campaign trail was. so i think of some way you're getting into a persona that doesn't capture the entirety of harry truman necessarily, but it is an important part. >> look at it this way. he never would have gotten to the senate without the pendergast machine.
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>> and his second term, absolutely, when he starts saying i'm going to invest it the possibility that there is corruption with the were. absolutely. yeah, i think that one of the things about jimmy carter was that he -- his persona, unlike harry truman, was tied to being an outsider. you is not, wanting to say about jimmy carter, even amongst those people who dislike him, what they will say is he was not corrupt. harry truman, ♪ ♪ bankrupt, but the machine was corrupt. you know, pendergrast was going to jail for tax evasion at the time that he is, you know. >> amendment-the presidency and the only he did keep going, lyndon johnson later brought in patience for president. spirit there is no spirit there is no doubt that harry truman
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was not, you know, a crook or a wealthy man. nonetheless, he was connected i think to a machine that i think jimmy carter would have found to be absolutely referenceable. jimmy carter wanted nothing to do with kind of machine politics. , i think for both of them as presidents, it's also explains in part why they had a hard time getting stuff done as president, right? especially on the domestic front. i think that -- [inaudible] >> in an awful lot he want to publish it there was no way he could get through. that the real funny part of this is that jimmy carter has a democratic congress. harry truman had a heavily republican and a fairly conservative congress to have to deal with. but as part of jimmy carter's persona that people tracings of as an outsider, which actually i think makes it hard for him to govern, to actually get things
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done. i think jimmy carter in his book, argues is not necessarily up front, jimmy carter had a great kind of moral vision that had a great deal of clarity to it. what he didn't have was the capacity to govern, the capacity to push things and the capacity to pose concrete solutions. and that was also in getting back to the first question, that was really probably one of his biggest troubles that he could never really fully overcome. >> it's true that jimmy carter didn't put a political game and governing. having said that, he got 77% of his program has. he got an energy program, which had stayed and intact, with dismantle by reagan.
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so he did a coppers a lot. he was not a good organizational democrat. and that was hard, but also, i haven't read the book, i am planning to. that was the beginning of the special interest -- special interest we taking hold lobbying, really coming into the forthright in washington where congress, the leadership in congress could not leave. most people listen to the obvious. >> absolutely. i think jimmy carter, i would put this with. i think jimmy carter lacked the inherent skills of politics. you know, to put it blood. he was no lbj. he was good at campaigning, absolutely. some people would criticize him during the time of this speech was that it struck him that he wanted to go back to campaigning
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rather than governing the country, which is i think attention that you see throughout his presidency. usually no lbj in the sense that he could not put a lot of weight on people and really get into the behind thinks. but with that said, i think we agree. i mean, one of the things that you could say that jimmy carter was not good at governing but the quick follow-up to that is who in that situation would have been better? i mean, it was a really difficult situation. i mean, with watergate just kind of, you know, getting so big and more and more details kind of coming out as you proceed through jimmy carter's presidency, when you have a congress that basically looks at watergate and says my god, we cannot allow for executive power to grow any more than it is, then it presently is. when you have a setting like that, you have watergate, you have the time, you had the kind of decline in public participation that you see throughout the '70s and carter in large part is reacting to.
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it is fair to say it, okay, he may not have a low-skilled in certain areas, but are we so sure that we want to say that anybody else could have done a finer job at that moment? it was a really, really difficult job. >> watergate helped them get elected. with the presidency suffered he inherited, that he ascended to need repair. >> that's right. and, you know, the fact that he wins in large part because of watergate, what also should be removed is that it was way closer of an election than it should have been. which actually calls into question a little bit about how great of a campaigner he was. because really, he really went in with a fairly high gap with ford. and then you see that kind of closing when it really shouldn't have. it should have been a sewn up election. >> you did a great job in the
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primaries getting the nomination. id. when he had to get the democratic nominee and had to bring together and deal with various disparity organizations of the established democrats, it was kind of against the image that he was projecting, the particular democrat really brought him down. >> and i think that is the classic tension between again campaigning, especially when you campaign as an outsider, someone who is not a part of the washington establishment, and then when you get in the challenge becomes how to transfer that kind of skill into actually governing. it's a tough tension and always marked his presidency and always posed a real big problem for. [inaudible] >> i mean, a lot of people ask what do you think of the present president in the context of his. one of the things that is clear during the inaugural address, he
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echoed a lot of things that you hear in this feature to document a crisis of congress. he talked about all that, but he also has a little bit of the reagan optimism tossed in, which i think helps him. and i think he also seems at least so far but it is too soon to know, obviously, on this front, but he also seems to have a little bit more of the political skill that jimmy carter just never mastered. that is a good question. any other questions? yes, i think that's right. i think that is absolutely right. any other questions? points, observations? anything like that? if not, thanks for coming out and i appreciate you being here. and hope to see you next time. [applause]
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>> this summer book tv is asking what are you reading? i'm charles gibson at abc news. the book i am most looking forward to this summer is two, august 11 pick i have a date circled on my calendar. pat conroy has a new novel coming out. it is called himself a broad. that is an area, if you know charleston, south carolina, in that grand old city, that pat knows very well. and when he writes a novel it is occasion for celebration. so south abroad comes out august 11, and i hope to have it
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read by august 12 or 13th. there are a couple of other books i'm going to read this summer. janice lee has written a book called the piano teacher, a novel set in china that i am told is a very good. maryland robinson has written a follow-up to her great book of a couple of years ago. this book is called home. it is a further sort of the prodigal son returning. her first book was so eloquent that i look forward to reading this one. a spy novel called the tourist that is highly recommended and on my bookshelf. it is a spy novel, but that's what you read in the summer. good spy novels. and as long as i have this occasion, two other books that i want to recommend that i've read in past summers, but i think are a joy for anyone who picks them up. one is the book thief by an mark. if you haven't read it, it is good. different than anything i have read and with marvelous insight into the human condition. and then someone knows my name, by lawrence hill.
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it is a fictionalized autobiography of a woman sold into slavery who chronicles her life in magnificent fashion. someone knows my name, the bookie, and as i said, pat conroy's south abroad that comes out august 11. >> to see more summer reading list and other program information, visit our website at booktv.org. rather 2000 bookexpo america. in new york city. we're here with johnny depp, publisher of books of new york or what book you have coming out? >> this fall one of the books we're most excited about is a graphic novel by the great black filmmaker belden van peebles. it is actually a book that inspired a new film of his that is going to begin premiering in
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august and september of this year simultaneous with our publication of the book and he is sort of the godfather of the black explication of it and we're very proud to be working with them. and curly right about now we are publishing a new book by the actor and activist mike farrell, who is best known for the role bj hike on the tv show m*a s*h. one of the greatest tv shows of all time. and this book, of mule and man is sort of a road book, a road memoir, a travel memoir. and we are putting him back on the road and were keeping him busy. how long have you been publishing books? >> would've been publishing since 1997. we publish literary fiction as the heart and soul of the company. we have a sort of outsider sensibility, though some of our books are quite popular but our
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books are often sort of provocative in one way or another and we do a little nonfiction as well, political nonfiction. biters include mike farrell, ron kovic, and other sort of cultural heroes of the left. you are not only publisher but you're the founder. how did you get into books? when did you decide to start a publishing house? >> i sort of stumbled into book publishing. it was never anything i intended to do. in my previous life i was a rock 'n roll musician and i spent most of the 1990s touring the world with my band, putting out albums, doing all the things that rock 'n roll are stupid and when i finally arrived at the think that rock 'n roll is to best, making money, after i made some money, i published a book basically as an experiment. and i found that i really enjoyed publishing the book. it was quite successful. i published a second book. again, it was a hobby, and after publishing three or four books,
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i had the publishing bug, and i started transitioning away from rock 'n roll and into book publishing. and there was no looking back. >> the publisher is based in brooklyn are to live in brooklyn, and you're the founder of the brooklyn book festival. you want details about the book festival? >> the brooklyn book festival is hosted by brooklyn borough hall, you know, new york city has won mayor but it has five boroughs. in each of the five boroughs has a baroque president, and elected borough president. and brooklyn's very popular borough president is marty markowitz. and when he came into office five or six years ago, or maybe it was seven years ago, he always wanted to start a big book festival because brooklyn is the home of creators. and it has a literary tradition dating back to walt whitman, richard wright, and these days we have many bestsellers living in brook live. so it was a very natural place for a big book festival. and i contacted borough hall and was able to help them to realize
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this vision of a big book festival, and it has quickly become the city's best book festival this year, september 13 will be the fourth annual brooklyn book festival. will have over 150 authors participating in programs, 150 exhibitors, publishers, literary magazines, literacy organizations. it is a very community based book festival. it is an international book festival but with a strong brooklyn flavor. >> johnny depp, founder and publisher of books. thanks. >> thank you. >> here's a look at some upcoming book fairs and festivals over the next few months.
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>> this summer, book tv is asking what are you reading? >> my name is emily heil and i write a column for roll call newspaper. this summer in addition to a big stack up pretty trashy novels, i have got a couple of other books on my nightstand table. first of all i want to read a homemade life stories and recipes from my kitchen table. that is mike moeller was a bird who is a really fantastic food blogger. her blog is called orange and she is also a columnist for bon appétit magazine. i love reading her columns and blog. i'm excited to read her book. next up is and biscuits and other southern specialties. and entertaining life with recipes. and that is by julia reed, the fantastic vogue writer and it is a recollection of her southern upbringing. i love richmond of the books in the summer. and then something a little more serious. is called plain, honest men, the making of the american constitution by richard neiman.
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and that chronicles the constitutional convention. also on my serious reading list is damning sins of monticello, an american family. i am of course interested in the topic. and then just for a little break since i didn't get to paris this year i like to read about it and i have picked up a fantastic guidebook from a funky little german press called passion. they do fantastic design books are kind i am reading imb passions paris by angelika cashin. so that is my summer reading list. check equity at the end of the summer and we'll see how far i've gotten into it. >> to see more summer reading list and the program information, visit our website at booktv.org.
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>> good afternoon. thank you for joining us here at heritage. says there is a little bit of talk in the room there must be interested in something. we do appreciate you joining us here today. i am john hubbell, director of lectures and seminars and it is my privilege to welcome us to our auditorium and to welcome those who join us on the heritage.org website. we do ask everyone in house to check that cell phones have been turned off as a courtesy to our speakers and those recording the festivities. and we of course remind our internet viewers that questions can be submitted to us at any time simply addressing them via e-mail to the speaker at